Keep Yourself and Your Dog Safe in the Car
A recent survey conducted by the AAA and Kurgo, a pet travel products company, shows just how risky the behavior of dog-owning drivers can be. Nearly one-quarter of all respondents said that they “have used their hands or arms to hold their dog in place while applying brakes.” Nineteen percent have used their hands or arms to keep their dog from climbing into the front seat, creating a situation where the drivers remove at least one hand from the steering wheel. Additionally, 52 percent of owners said they pet their dogs as they drive along.
We seem to know what to do, and yet we take the risks anyway. For example, 83 percent of respondents acknowledged that having an unrestrained dog in a moving car can be dangerous, and yet only 16 percent of owners said they currently use a pet restraint. This can lead to horrific consequences.
“An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure,” says Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National Traffic Safety Programs manager. “Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path.”
Huebner-Davidson and other experts strongly recommend that you use a pet restraint system, easily found online or at most pet stores. Like a car seat or seatbelt for a human passenger, such restraints can “limit distractions and protect you, your pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop.”
If you are properly prepared, and if your dog enjoys car trips, you can then take it with you whenever and wherever you go, as long as the destination will also be safe and dog-friendly. Another pet peeve of mine: owners who let their dogs run loose out of cars. Always keep your dog on a leash when you are out and about. It’s for your dog’s safety, and for that of others.